Man sentenced to 80+ years in prison for shooting two police officers in 2020

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A man who shot two police officers in Delafield in 2020 was sentenced Monday to more than 80 years in prison.

Nathanael Benton shot a Delafield officer and a Hartland officer in November of 2020 when they stopped to talk to him. Both officers survived.

Benton already has a long criminal record. While awaiting trial for shooting the officers, he tried to kill a fellow inmate and was sentenced to more than 50 years in prison.

Monday dozens of uniformed officers from several departments filled every seat in the courtroom to show support for their brothers who are still healing.

Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper told Judge Paul Bugenhagen, "He's a self-centered coward who ambushed these officers."

Opper called for the maximum penalty Monday, 80.5 years in prison for Benton, for three counts connected to the shootings.

Judge Bugenhagen told Benton, "You don't want to comply with the law, you don't care about other people's lives."

Opper said, "There's really no time that I would feel comfortable going back to the community and saying 'he served his sentence, he can be rehabilitated.'"

On the night of November 6, 2020, the two officers stopped Benton and eventually frisked him.

He pulled a gun and fired 10 times. The officers were hit five times; one of them required life-saving measures.

Benton ran and an hours-long manhunt ensued. He was eventually found in a field and was taken into custody without incident.

Judge Bugenhagen said he "Committed one of the most depraved, dangerous, ruthless, awful events one could imagine."

Both officers survived but both are no longer in law enforcement. DA Opper called it a loss for them and the communities they served.

And Opper spent more than 25 minutes going over Benton's record, describing past gun charges, a prison stint for rape, and the recent attempted murder conviction.

Benton's defense attorney Jeffrey Jensen did not argue the facts of the case, saying, "It's deserving of punishment; the community deserves to be protected from Mr. Benton."

But Jensen argued for the minimum sentence available, saying anything more would be unnecessary. "It is utterly meaningless gesture, intended only to express outrage and revenge toward Mr. Benton."

Publicly, Benton spoke only one word during the hearing, a simple "no" when the judge asked if he wished to make a statement.

Benton will first serve the 50+ year sentence for the attempted murder of a fellow inmate, then the 80+ year sentence will begin. But recently Benton also fought with bailiffs and bit one of them, so he'll be back in court soon for that case.

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